18. IMAM Abu Hanifa His name is Noman and his father’s name is Thabit. His position is very high in the mystic knowledge (tariqat) and in the Islamic law (Shariat). In both these fields of knowledge, no one could be compared to him as he acquired great knowledge and experience during his time. Abu Hanifa met many pious persons and companions of the holy Prophet. The following are the names of pious persons whom he met. Anas Bin Malik, Abdullah Bin Abi Awf, Sahl Bin Sa’d, Amir Bin Wasila, Abdullah Zuhri and Imam Ja’far. He was the teacher of the following well-known pious and learned persons. Fuzail Bin Ayaz Ibrahim Bin Adham Bishr Hafi Dawood Tai How he got his patronymic name Abu Hanifa? Once some women asked him, “As per Islamic law the men are allowed to marry four women, so the women may also be allowed to marry at least two men?” Abu Hanifa could not reply the question of the women at the same moment, so he told them that he would reply later. He came back to his house with great worry and trouble due to the above question, which was asked by the women. When his daughter Hanifa saw him in that condition she asked him the reason of his worry. When his daughter came to know the details, she told her father that she will reply the question of the women but he should use her name as his patronymic name as Abu Hanifa. He promised to do so. She called the women before her. When the women came there, she gave a cup to each woman and told them to put some milk in that cup. When they put the milk in the cups Hanifa mixed the milk of each cup into another big cup. Then she told the women to take back their milk into their cups. They replied that it is impossible. Hanifa explained them, “If they have children after marriage form two husbands then how they will recognize that who is the father of the child.” After hearing the answer the women were greatly surprised. They got the correct reply of their question and from that day Imam’s name was called as Abu Hanifa. Allah gave fame to his patronymic name than his original old name. There is a strange story that when he visited the Prophet’s tomb and said, “Assalaamu alaikum” then he heard a reply from there, “Wa alaikum assalaam, Oh! the Imam (leader) of Muslims.” So please note how fortunate he was to have such a great position. After that he went into the loneliness. It was reported that then he turned towards Allah and left the worldly life and pleasure. He used to wear a woollen dress and saw in his dream that he was collecting the bones from the Prophet’s grave and was sorting them from each other. He woke up and in horror could not sleep whole night. Next morning he asked the explanation of his dream to Ibn Sirin who was Prophet’s companion. He explained him, “You will reach the highest position in the knowledge of the Prophet and his Sunnah (the Prophet’s teachings) and also you will take precautionary measures and will differentiate between the false and true of sayings of the Prophet.” Once he saw the Prophet in his dream who told him, “Oh! Abu Hanifa! You were given life to show my Sunnah. So leave your loneliness.” He was very careful and helpful. Once caliph Mansur called all the learned people of Baghdad before him but Sha’bi, who was teacher of Abu Hanifa was absent in that meeting due to his old age. Caliph Mansur sent an agreement through his servant to Sha’bi to sign it as witness as he was the qazi (judge) of the city of Baghdad. He signed and stamped it. All other learned people also signed it. When that paper was brought before Abu Hanifa for his signature as witness on it, he asked the servant, “Where is Mansur?” The servant replied, “He is in the palace.” Abu Hanifa told him, “The caliph should come over here or we should go to the palace then only the witness would be correct.” The servant forced him to sign it as the qazi because other learned people have already signed it as witnesses. Abu Hanifa told him, “The action of all the persons will not be the same.” The matter was reported to caliph Mansur. He called Sha’bi in his court and asked him whether presence is necessary for the witness. He told, “Yes.” The caliph asked him, “Then why did he sign it when he did not find his presence?” Sha’bi replied, “Because I know you and I do not want to give you the trouble.” The caliph told him, “This is not correct and it is against the rules of qaziat (justice). It is better for you to leave the post of qazi.” The caliph asked his advisors for another suitable person for the post of qazi and they told him, “The following four are most suitable persons:” 1. Abu Hanifa 2. Sufyan 3. Shire 4. Mashair. The caliph called the above four persons to his court. When they were going to the court on the way Abu Hanifa told them “I want to tell you one wise thing in this matter that I will try to avoid this post. Sufyan it is better for you to run away from here and Mashair you pretend as a mad man so that Shire will become qazi.” Sufyan ran from the way, hid himself in the boat and asked the crew of boat to hide him. He told them that if the caliph will catch him then he would cut his head. As per the saying of the Prophet, “One who becomes a judge can be slaughtered without a knife.” So they made him hide there. The three persons went to the palace of Mansur. The caliph first asked Abu Hanifa to accept the post of qazi. He replied that he is not an Arab but he is a slave of them, so they will not accept his legal decisions. Imam Ja’far who was present there told him that this post is not inherited but it requires knowledge. Abu Hanifa told Mansur, “I am not eligible for the post of qazi. The only logic is that he is not eligible for the post is enough. This argument has two points that whether it is true or false. If it is true then I am not eligible for it and if it is false then also I am not eligible for the post.” He told him, “Oh! Caliph! A false person is not eligible for the post of qazi to decide the cases of Muslims.” In this way he saved himself. Mashair then holded caliph’s hand and asked him, “How are you and how is your son?” Mansur said, “Send him out, he seems a mad person.” Then the caliph asked Shire to accept the job. He told him, “My mind is weak.” Then Mansur told him to take care of it and asked him to accept the post of qazi. When Shire became qazi, Abu Hanifa never visited him. It was reported that a group of boys were playing with ball and by chance the ball fell before Abu Hanifa. No boy dared to come over there to pick up the ball. One boy told the other boys that if they permit him then he will go and pick up the ball from there. He went there and rudely collected the ball from that place. Abu Hanifa told, “This boy is not halali (legal).” The people enquired into the matter and it was found right. The people asked him, “Oh! the leader of Muslims! How do you know that?” He replied, “If he would have been legal then he would have felt sorry.” It was reported that one person was his debtor and his house was near the funeral place. Once Abu Hanifa’s disciple died and he went there for his funeral prayer. At that time the weather was very hot and there was no shadow except near the wall of his debtor’s house. The persons asked him to take shelter there but he replied them, “The house owner is his debtor so it is not right to stay in the shadow of his house wall. Because the Prophet has said, ‘The benefit from the loan is interest. If I get benefit from this wall then it will be calculated as interest.’ ” It was reported that a fire worshipper once imprisoned him. When he was in the jail, a cruel person came to him and asked him to shave the sides of his head but he refused to do the same. That person asked him why he is not doing? He replied him that if he does so then he will become a member of that community. If Allah will tell on the Day of Judgement to gather those persons who did sins with their helpers and He may give order to put them into the Hell. Abu Hanifa told him, that he does not want to become his helper. It was reported by chela that he used to pray 300 rakats (one rakat is equal to one set of standing, genuflexion and prostration in prayer) every night. When Abu Hanifa was going somewhere, one woman saw him and told another woman that this person used to pray 500 rakats every night. When he heard this, he decided to pray 500 raktas every night as per the saying of that woman. Another day when he was going on the way some of the boys told themselves that this man used to pray 1000 rakats every night and so he decided to pray the same. One day one of his disciple told him that the people talk about him that he never sleeps in the night and so from that day he decided not to sleep in the night. When he was asked why? He told, “Allah says persons like praise of the qualities which are not in them and for this reason they will not be free from the punishment. I never sleep in the night from that day so that I may not be from that community.” He used to pray the Morning Prayer for 30 years with the ablution of Isha (evening) prayer. It was reported that due to too much prostration corn developed on his knees like the corns of the camel’s knees. It was also reported that once he welcomed a rich man due to his wealth, so for this mistake he read the Qur’an for 1000 times. It was said that for any problem he used to read the Qur’an 40 times and due to the blessing he was able to get the solution of the problem. It was reported that Mohammed Bin Hasan was most handsome person. One day he looked at him and asked him to sit behind a pillar and never see him again. It was reported by Dawood Tai that he was in his company for a period of 20 years and he has not seen him without covering his head and sitting with legs stretched out in the loneliness or in the congregation. So he asked, “Oh! the leader of Muslims! What is matter if we stretch out our legs in the loneliness?” And he replied, “It is good thing to respect Allah in the loneliness also.” It was reported that once he was going somewhere, he saw a boy in the mud and he asked him, “Walk carefully otherwise you will fall down.” The boy replied him, “Oh! leader of Muslims! I am alone, if I slip I will control myself but you take care of your legs that may not slip and if it happens then all Muslims who follow you will fell down and then it will be the difficult situation to control them.” The Imam surprised when he heard the boy’s wise talk. He wept and asked his disciples to be careful about any doubt. If they find any problem then without clear proof they should not follow him. They do not overlook his finding and this is sign of justice. There are many sayings of Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Mohammed. Their opinion was different to him in some problems. It was reported that a rich man had enmity with Caliph Osman Bin Affan and he used to say him an unbeliever. When he heard this he asked the rich man to see him. When that man came there he told him to marry his daughter to one unbeliever. When he heard this he replied him, “You are leader of Muslims and talking to marry a Muslim’s daughter to an unbeliever, I think it is not good.” Imam told him, “Nothing would happen if you think like this as the Prophet married his two daughters to an unbeliever.” Then that rich person understood the matter and he corrected his opinion about Caliph Osman Bin Affan. This happened due to the blessing of Abu Hanifa’s prayer. It was reported that one day he was in a public bathroom and a man entered there. The persons talked about him that he is a false and an unbeliever of God. When he entered there that person was naked, so Abu Hanifa closed his eyes. That person asked him, “When did you lose your eyesight.” The Imam replied him, “At the time when you lost your dress.” Then Abu Hanifa said, “If you have discussion with an unbeliever person then keep two things in your mind. Either you will become an unbeliever or will be away from the religion. Because if he would say ‘If Allah wills your knowledge will guide them and it will be equal to the knowledge that is known. When that man would say ‘no’ then you will become an unbeliever and if he says ‘yes’ then you will be away from the religion.” It was reported that Abu Hanifa told, “He would not consider the miser and his witness due to his miserliness as he will require more and will take more than what he deserves .” It was reported that for the construction of a mosque persons asked him some amount as benediction (saintly gift). He felt uneasiness for this. The persons asked him to offer any amount as benediction, and he gave one dinar unwillingly. His disciples told him, “You are very kind and great learned man and your generosity is well-known to all so what is the reason for such a small amount you were unwilling to give for the construction of mosque.” He replied them, “He was not worried for the amount but he was sure that halal (legal) amount will not be used for the construction” He thought his money is legal and by giving the amount there will be doubt about his money and for this reason he was very sad for it. After some time they returned back his one dinar and they told him that the dinar is not original. He was not happy to take it back. It was reported that once he was going to the bazaar when a small amount of soil made his dress dirty. He went to the river Tigris and washed it carefully. The persons asked him, “You told us that small filth if it is fallen on the dress is permissible but why you have washed small amount of soil?” He replied, “You are right that is legal opinion (fatwa) and this is piety or fear of God (taqwa), as the Prophet not permitted Bilal to store half bread but he stored food for his wives for the period of one year.” When Dawood Tai became his disciple then he asked him what to do? He replied him, “To act upon your knowledge because the knowledge which is not acted upon is like a body without a soul.” It was reported that the caliph saw the angel Izrael in his dream so he asked him, “How much life is left?” He showed him his five fingers. The caliph asked the explanation of his dream to many persons but no body explained him clearly. He called Abu Hanifa and he explained him that the angel told him about the five knowledges, which no body knows. Allah mentioned it in the Qur’an and the meaning is as follows: It is fact that no body knows when the Day of Resurrection will take place. The knowledge about the rain. The knowledge about what is there in the womb of a pregnant woman. The knowledge about the activities of tomorrow. The knowledge when a person will die. It was reported by Sheikh Abu Ali Bin Osman Al-Jali that when he slept on the grave of Bilal he saw himself in Makkah and he watched that the Prophet entered into the harem (grand mosque in Makkah) from the gate of Bani Shaiba. There was one old person with him. He ran towards him, kissed his feet and surprised to see that old person. The Prophet by his hidden knowledge understood my surprise and told me that he is the leader of Muslims. He is from my country and he is called as Abu Hanifa. It was reported by Nofal Bin Hayan that when Abu Hanifa died he saw in his dream a plain of the Day of Judgement where all creatures were ready in the accounting place. The Prophet was sitting on the fountain of Kauther and on his right and left side all pious persons were standing. An old man who was very handsome and his hairs and head were like snow was standing by the side of the Prophet. I said salam to him and asked for the water. The old man replied unless the Prophet permits he would not give the water. Then the Prophet asked him to give water to me, so he gave me a cup of water. All my friends and I drank water from that cup but it was still full. I asked, “Who is that person standing on the right side?” The Prophet replied, “He is Prophet Ibrahim (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and on the left side is Abu Bakr (RA).” In this way I asked him about seventeen persons. It was reported by Yahya Majraji that he saw the Prophet in his dream and he asked him that where he should see him. He replied him that one can see him near Abu Hanifa. His praise and endeavours are numerous and are well known, so there is no need to mention all of them. 18th EPISODE from Tazkeratul Aoulia by Sheikh Farid-ud-Din Attar (Book of Muslim Saints and Mystics) Translated from Urdu to English by Muhammed A. Hafeez, B.COM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hyderabad-36, (India). Reference Books 1. Tazkeratul Aoulia by Sheikh Farid-ud-Din Attar (Book of Muslim Saints and Mystics), Urdu translation published by Majedi Book Depot, Kanpur in the year 1383 A.H., India. 2. Tazkeratul Aoulia by Sheikh Farid-ud-Din Attar (Book of Muslim Saints and Mystics), Urdu translation published by Anwar Book Depot, Delhi, India.